APPLYING THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES FOR GOOD PRACTICE IN UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION

Joseph R. Codde, Ph.D., Professor and Director - Educational Technology Certificate Program

Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education Department

Michigan State University

Adapted from Arthur W. Chickering's and Zelda F. Gamson's book entitled, "Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education"

The following is a brief summary of the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education as compiled in a study supported by the American Association of Higher education, the Education Commission of States, and The Johnson Foundation. These Seven Principles are also presented in Chickering and Gamson's book entitled "Applying the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education" (1991).

I utilized the Faculty Inventory presented at the back of this book to share with you the practices I apply in my teaching.

1. GOOD PRACTICE ENCOURAGES STUDENT -- FACULTY CONTACT

Frequent student-faculty contact in and out of classes is the most important factor in student motivation and involvement. Faculty concern helps students get through rough times and keep on working. Knowing a few faculty members well enhances students' intellectual commitment and encourages them to think about their own values and future plans.

2. GOOD PRACTICE ENCOURAGES COOPERATION AMONG STUDENTS

Learning is enhanced when it is more like a team effort than a solo race. Good learning, like good work, is collaborative and social, not competitive and isolated. Working with others often increases involvement in learning. Sharing one's own ideas and responding to others' reactions improves thinking and deepens understanding.

3. GOOD PRACTICE ENCOURAGES ACTIVE LEARNING

Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just sitting in classes listening to teachers, memorizing pre-packaged assignments and spitting out answers. They must talk about what they are learning, write about it, relate it to past experiences, and apply it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of themselves.

4. GOOD PRACTICE GIVES PROMPT FEEDBACK

Knowing what you know and don't know focuses learning. Students need appropriate feedback on performance to benefit from courses. In getting started, students need help in assessing existing knowledge and competence. In classes, students need frequent opportunities to perform and receive suggestions for improvement. At various points during college, and at the end, students need chances to reflect on what they have learned, what they still need to know, and how to assess themselves.

5. GOOD PRACTICE EMPHASIZES TIME ON TASK

Time plus energy equals learning. There is no substitute for time on task. Learning to use one's time well is critical for students and professional alike. Students need help in learning effective time management. Allocating realistic amounts of time means effective learning for students and effective teaching for faculty. How an institution defines time expectations for students, faculty and administrators, and other professional staff can establish the basis for high performance for all.

6. GOOD PRACTICE COMMUNICATES HIGH EXPECTATIONS

Expect more and you will get it. High expectations are important for everyone-- for the poorly prepared, for those unwilling to exert themselves, and for the bright and well motivated. Expecting students to perform well becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when teachers and institutions hold high expectations of themselves and make extra efforts.

7. GOOD PRACTICE RESPECTS DIVERSE TALENTS AND WAYS OF LEARNING

There are many roads to learning. People bring different talents and styles of learning to college. Brilliant students in the seminar room may be all thumbs in the lab or art studio. Students rich in hands-on experience may not do so well in theory. Students need to opportunity to show their talents and learn in ways that work for them. Then they can be pushed to learning in new ways that do not come so easily.

SOURCE: Chickering, A.W., and Gamson, Z.F. (1991). Applying the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. Number 47, Fall 1991. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc.

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Joseph R. Codde, Ph.D., Professor

Director, Educational Technology Certificate Program

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Updated August 26, 2006